CDC: Vaping connected to hundreds of respiratory illness cases

CDC: Vaping connected to hundreds of respiratory illness cases

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is warning against e-cigarette use, or vaping, after a reported spike in lung-related illnesses. 

The CDC also reported the first death related to vaping earlier this month, reinforcing its serious health risks. 

Dr. Gilbert Berdine, with the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, said the FDA originally supported vaping because its intent was to help to people quit smoking.

It is especially popular among teens and young adults.

In fact, the use of e-cigarettes by high school students jumped 78% last year, according to the CDC.

But Berdine said vaping has now switched from an alternative to an abuse. 

"Young people, who are not cigarette smokers, taking up this habit are subjecting themselves to inhalation-related risks without any benefit. They're not giving something up that's a bad habit. They're just acquiring a bad habit. So there's really no benefit -- it's all risk," Berdine said.

Berdine said this new wave of vaping among young adults presents the biggest danger of all: The unknown. 

"You don't know what the long-term effects of these things are until you have seen people do it for many, many years. It's possible that somebody vaping now, and even if they don't continue to practice, could have some delayed reaction decades from now. We have seen this with other medication so that's a possibility and we won't know until we have a chance to study this more over time," Berdine said.

It is now illegal for anyone under 21 to buy or own e-cigarettes in the state of Texas.

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